Ferrari-Porsche Battle Fiercer Than Ever in All-GTA Estoril Round
• 23 cars to compete in the only solely GTA (GT2) event of the year• Four additional Porsches in the new entries, with Collard-Cruz in fourth car entered by Autorlando Sport• Belicchi, Pompidou and Casè rejoin the series• Gião-Couceiro (Playteam), best hope of strong Portuguese delegation
GT Sport today issued the entry list for the Estoril GT Open, the 4th event of the season in the calendar of the major GT 2 pro-am series in the continent. A total of 23 cars will be racing in Portugal, in this special event: this is the first time in the history of the series where the field will be composed solely of GTA (GT2 cars) as the GTS (GT3) category’s calendar foresees an event less than GTA’s.
The Estoril GT Open, which will take place in the historic Autódromo do Estoril in the beautiful surroundings of Lisbon, will stage another chapter of the battle between the Ferraris F430 and the Porsches RSRs. This time, Stuttgart’s delegation has been up-graded with the addition of four additional cars (three 997 and one 996) entered by Lusitanian teams ASM and Estoril Racing, Spanish Drivex and by reigning Autorlando Sport (with a top driver pair formed by Collard-Cruz Martins), in a clear attempt to reduce the advantage taken in the championship by the red machines, which top the five first positions in the overall standings, with Playteam’s Montermini-Maceratesi (81 points) ahead of Advanced Engineering’s Michele Rugolo (61 points) and Playteam’s Gião-Couceiro (60 points), who will be racing on home soil
Among the 18 GTA cars regularly participating to the International GT Open, there are only few and foreseen driver changes: in the Advanced Engineering Ferrari # 11, Lorenzo Casè is making a welcomed come-back alongside Michele Rugolo after the knee injury that kept him out of contention in the last two events. Also back are the drivers that missed the last event in Spa because of their commitments in the 24 hours of Le Mans: Andrea Belicchi (Autorlando Porsche # 2) and Xavier Pompidou, who will share the Swiss Ferrari of Trottet Racing with Henri Moser, who brought the car to victory in the first race in Belgium with Marcel Fässler.
The five new entries are all Portugal-linked. A fourth Autorlando Porsche (a 997 RSR) entered by the Italian squad for local hero Francisco Cruz Martins and Frenchman Emmanuel Collard. The 37-year sportscar and GT stalwart will make his debut in the International GT Open, one of the few series where he has not competed yet.
ASM Portugal is back with a Porsche 997 RSR for Pedro Bastos (so far, the only Portuguese driver to have won a round of the International GT Open) and António Gellweiler. Could not miss the home event the Marcos LM600 of António Nogueira and António Coimbra, the Porsche 996 RSR of French-Lusitanian Estoril Racing driven by Manuel and Claude Monteiro, and the pair João Terenas-Carlos Peres on the second Porsche 997 RSR entered by Spanish squad Drivex.
Apart of the International GT Open and the WTCC, the program of this exciting racing week-end is completed by rounds of the Formula Master, the Portuguese Touring Car Championship and the SEAT Eurocup. All the International GT Open action can be followed, as always, through the extensive live or semi-live TV coverage offered by Eurosport (54 countries), Canal + Deportes, TDT Popular TV (Spain), Nuvolari (Italy) and Sport TV (Portugal), and the delayed summaries and reports in Canal 9 (Spain), Motors TV (France), ÖRF (Austria), BeTv (Belgium) and ART (Middle East).
ESTORIL TIMETABLE (ALL TIMES IN LOCAL TIME, CET -1)
Friday 11 July 200811:15-12:15 Free Practice 115:45-16:45 Free Practice 2Saturday 12 July 200809:10-09:40 Qualifying 1 (GTA)13:05-13:35 Qualifying 2 (GTA)17:05-18:05 Pro-Am Race (60’ – Rolling Start)Sunday 13 July 200809:00-09:15 Warm-up11:50-12:35 GT Open Race (45’- Rolling Start)